Demand up for buying jobs

7 June 2009

08 June 2009 | Martha McKenzie- Minifie

Rivalry for procurement jobs is rising, with more candidates competing for fewer positions.

Three specialist recruitment agencies told SM purchasing job vacancies were attracting far more applications this year. Two of them were offering fewer interim roles. And there has been an increase in private sector workers applying for public sector roles.

Reports from some of the firms and elsewhere suggest the job market for buyers is tightening in the downturn, as companies shed staff.

The procurement division of Badenoch & Clark has seen a 35 per cent rise in the past 12 months in the number of candidates actively seeking work.

Andrew Daley, director of Edbury Daley, said: "Responses are definitely up." He pointed to an escalation in the number of online applications the company had this year for permanent roles (up 18 per cent) and interim roles (up about 25 per cent).

Daley put this down to three factors - redundancies, job security fears, and a "slight" downturn in the interim market pushing some workers to permanent roles.

"There's a small percentage of interims who are thinking 'if I can get a permanent role and stay there for 18 months, I'll take it'," he said.

Pat Law, managing director at Hays Purchasing & Supply, said the volume of applications for challenging public sector roles - such as a head of procurement in the NHS - have doubled in the past six months.

He said the proportion of private sector applicants for public sector jobs had risen from around 50 per cent of the total to more than 80 per cent.

"There are fewer opportunities in the commercial sector but, more importantly, roles within public sector are becoming increasingly interesting and challenging," he explained.

He added, however, that some clients still initially viewed applicants from commercial backgrounds "less favourably" than those with public sector experience.

Accenture's Procurement in Turbulent Times study showed that, of 40 CPOs surveyed in November, 41 per cent had seen a fall in the number of full-time equivalent staff.


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